Jon Erebus's Blog: Blog from the World of All

September 12, 2017

Book 4 of the Koholt Chronicles is now out

Eagle and Hare (Koholt Chronicles, Book 4) by Jon Erebus

True to form, this one also took a bit longer than I expected. At least it wasn’t two years this time. There are only two more titles left in this story, so you will see some of its strands starting to come together here. In the previous book, The Colours of the Past, we did not go down to the mines of Tvinde town, and in this new title, Eagle and Hare, we are even leaving Tvinde itself.

Here we follow Koholt on his quest to make contact with Vriddhir’s teacher, who is said to live in a little village to the east of Daler. Of course, as readers of The Colours of the Past will know, he is being hunted every step of the way. And who knows what really may really lie in wait for him at the end of his journey?

The next (and penultimate!) book should be out in a month or two – I hope.

This blog post first appeared on my personal website.
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Published on September 12, 2017 03:49 Tags: dark-fantasy, fantasy, grimdark

February 10, 2017

Review of Atwood's Hag-Seed

Hag-Seed Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Another day, another Atwood. I just began reading her work (beginning with the excellent Moral Disorder), and I'm glad I have! Her wit, clarity, and complexity are all very stimulating.

This is a part of the Hogarth Shakespeare, meaning that invited authors do their own takes of assigned plays. Atwood faces off with The Tempest. I really like her idea of doing this by telling the story of how a fallen theatre director and his production of the play with convicts in a prison. It allows for both an effective frame that mirrors the themes and plot of the play itself, and to have an ongoing discussion between the characters about all the small and large problems of the play and how to stage it. Throughout, there are elegant but non-obvious references to play's production history and the many debates surrounding its reception, all of which are admirably up-to-date. And the theatre production frame opens for all the little questions of the practical aspects of performing Shakespeare, something I think is all too missing in many discussions of his plays - after all, they really are PLAYS!

It is also refreshing to see how Atwood does not engage too much with the many postcolonial readings of Caliban that now are so influential. That is not to say that I have anything against them - on the contrary, they are essential to how I read the play myself - but it is still intriguing with a take which gives room to many of the play's other aspects.

As with many other similar books (and films!) that follow classical originals, some parts of the plot here appear a bit too contrived, and the resolution itself is a bit rushed. Also, it is very hard, even for a writer like Atwood, to keep readers from playing 'spot the original plot' while reading. That being said, the most of the characters of this book do take on lives of their own, lives that brush with The Tempest and then continue along their own trajectories.

All in all, it's a wonderful read.



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Published on February 10, 2017 01:09

February 9, 2017

A STRANGENESS IN MY MIND Review

A Strangeness in My Mind A Strangeness in My Mind by Orhan Pamuk

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I think this is Pamuk's best work in English translation since Istanbul: Memories and the City, possibly even My Name is Red. Chronicling the life of street vendor Mevlut Karatas and his extended family through decades of hard work as migrants in Istanbul, Pamuk achieves not only to tell a captivating, human story, but also to explore the material realities of migration, urbanisation, and modernity. But as we follow Mevlut's nightly walks around Istanbul selling the traditional boza liquor, there is also room to linger on his personal ruminations around the distance between the private and the public, and his fundamental sense of strangeness. As this motif mingles with his memories of the fading Istanbul of his childhood, quickly giving way to today's modern metropolis, Pamuk conjures up a vivid sense of deep and lingering melancholy - which is a very good thing! A wonderful novel.



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Published on February 09, 2017 02:16

MORAL DISORDER Review

Moral Disorder and Other Stories Moral Disorder and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This was my first Atwood, and I already feel I've wasted time by not reading her before. The stories in this book can be read independently, but also add up to complex whole. Mostly they follow the life of a protagonist from childhood to adulthood, while also tracing the lives of her sister, parents, and others. Often the stories hinge on very particular elements, such as a Halloween costume made and worn just as our protagonist is outgrowing Halloween itself, or the life of a horse that she ends up taking care of during a spell as a farm holder along with her partner. Also interesting are the stories that aren't told, but which seem to happen between what is told - effectually suggesting the fullness of life and how hard it is to capture it. All of this is written in an admirably simple, effective, and beautiful prose. I now promise to mend my ways and start going through Atwood's impressive catalogue.



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Published on February 09, 2017 02:15

April 13, 2016

EQUAL RITES Review

Equal Rites (Discworld, #3; Witches #1) Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I've been reading the Discworld novels again, in no particular order, and there are many of them I hadn't read before. This is one of them.

I was surprised by how funny and inventive I found THE COLOUR OF MAGIC and THE LIGHT FANTASTIC, having only read them once nearly 20 years ago, but also disappointed by their weak narrative structure. They're basically just series of set pieces, not all of them equally successful. The Discworld books clearly got better later on.

I'd heard that EQUAL RITES is the first book in the series to evidence some of the elegant plotting of the later titles, being not only a series of jokes but actually coming off as a novel.

I was disappointed. While clearly an improvement on the two earlier titles, EQUAL RITES still struggles with carrying its characters through an engaging storyline. The ingredients are there, but the result doesn't come off - not to my taste, at least. The middle section where Esk runs away does not, as far as I can tell, add anything to the proceedings, and the final set piece lacks suspense and purpose.

On the other hand, some of the new characters are very promising, and the budding relationship between Granny Weatherwax and the Archchancellor of Unseen University is one of the best elements in the entire book.

The best thing about the title remains the title itself - a truly wonderful pun.



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Published on April 13, 2016 13:47

GUARDS! GUARDS! Review

Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch #1)Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


My reading of the Discworld series has been very eclectic; I read them out of order, and often with several years in between each time I pick up one. I reread the two first titles last year, and found them to be both funnier and less well-structured than I remembered.

"Guards! Guards!" however, is one of the very best Discworld novels I've read - maybe even one of the best fantasy novels, period.

I won't go into details on the plot or the characters, since I believe it is all quite well known. What I think is noteworthy here is how Pratchett manages to weave together a quite bizarre storyline that riffs on a number of stale fantasy tropes, a set of outrageous, but believable characters (who don't really need the overarching storyline to be interesting), and to make it all come together in a surprisingly dark meditation on the nature of power and human ambition - while being effortlessly funny throughout.

A detail I've never appreciated before in Pratchett's writing is his wonderful talent of finding exactly the right word in a given context. For instance, when the imprisoned Patrician orders a set of illiterate rats to provide him with books, the ensuing library is described as "baroque". Perfect.

A wonderful read.



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Published on April 13, 2016 13:44

Discworld Reviews

When I'm not tumbling around in the World of All, I tend to read books from elsewhere. Lately they've been from the world of the Disc - or Discworld, as one says.

I'm rereading the series now, though 'rereading' is an overstatement. Finding that I hadn't read nearly as many of them as I'd remembered, I'm rereading some, but reading most of them for the very first time.

I'll try to review them here on Goodreads as I go along, though I won't necessarily be reading them in the chronological order.

Feel more than free to challenge my take on the books as I go along!
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Published on April 13, 2016 13:43

July 9, 2015

The World of All - what is that?

The World of All is the setting of my new, ongoing series of dark fantasy stories. The first cycle of stories focuses on the mercenary Koholt, who tries to live out his days in relative peace as a guard for a security company in the mining town of Tvinde. As those of you who have read the first installment of the series, THE BEAST IN THE ROCKS, will know, events in the mines are making his so-called "retirement plan" a lot more challenging than he wished for.

I will not reveal any upcoming plot points, but I will say this: An essential theme of the series is to discuss the relationship between language and magic, and whether the magical potential of certain languages resides in their linguistic properties or in their socio-political leverage.

As you will have noticed, the cover for THE BEAST IN THE ROCKS is fiery red. Later titles in the series that do not focus on Koholt, but rather on other characters and places in the world of All, will be packaged in other colours.

But for now, we follow Koholt. The next title, possibly to be entitled FLOWERS OF THE PAST, is to be published this weekend. More are to come throughout the summer of 2015.

This blog is my online home, but you can reach out to me many other places. I am glad to hear from you, whatever you wish to say, and no matter how you say it. We are all living in the world of - all.
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Published on July 09, 2015 17:32

Blog from the World of All

Jon Erebus
The World of All is the setting of a new series of fantasy stories. The first cycle, Koholt Chronicles, are being published throughout the summer of 2015.

In this blog, I will share my thoughts and imp
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